Things I Learned from The Once and Future Podcasts – Justin Gustainis edition

This week I listened to author Anton Strout interview Justin Gustainis, author of two UF series: the Quincy Morris series and the Occult Investigations series. Here are a few things I learned:

— Anton describes what happens when he gets an edit letter. If you ever wondered what an author goes through after an editor has read the manuscript, Anton explains.

— Sometimes the Once and Future Podcast does giveaways. I need to start listening to the newest shows.

— The hero of Justin’s Quincy Morris series is based on a character from Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. Justin’s character is a descendant of the vampire killer, carrying on a family tradition.

— Justin talks about what it was like trying to break into publishing before there was an Internet.

— When not being an author, Justin is a professor. So when does a professor find the time to write? What’s in his office? (I want the posters.)

— Justin was once a speech writer and a bodyguard. He tells Anton what both of those jobs entailed.

— Justin and Anton discuss how to handle bad reviews. This is excellent advice for all authors and writers.

— Justin writes in silence or to a soundtrack. Find out which soundtrack.

— Justin reads urban fantasy, but not as often as he’d like to.

— And finally, Justin says there are three things required of every writer in order to be published . . .

. . . listen to the podcast to find out about all of this and more.


Releases: Archer, Broaddus, Harrison, Quaid, Sanders, Showalter, Sizemore, Spradlin and Strout


Cover Copy: Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, and the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, the daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret: She was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of, and some would consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or to attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Kindle | Kobo


Cover Copy: The Wire meets Excalibur in this stunning urban fantasy.

From the drug gangs of downtown Indianapolis, the one true king will arise.

The King Arthur myth gets dramatically retold through the eyes of street hustler King, as he tries to unite the crack dealers, gangbangers and the monsters lurking within them to do the right thing.

From the drug gangs of downtown Indianapolis, the one true king will arise. The King Arthur myth gets dramatically retold through the eyes of street hustler King, as he tries to unite the crack dealers, gangbangers and the monsters lurking within them to do the right thing. Broaddus’ debut is a stunning, edgy work, genuinely unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Collecting the sensational urban fantasy series, and comprising all three volumes: King Maker, King’s Justice, and King’s War.

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Kobo

paperback – Kim Harrison –  A PERFECT BLOOD

Cover Copy: Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the I.S. and FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth: a human hate group is trying to create its own demons to destroy all Inderlanders, and to do so, it needs her blood.

She’s faced vampires, witches, werewolves, demons, and more, but humanity itself might be her toughest challenge yet.

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Kindle | Kobo


Cover Copy: Justine (Tina) Clancy is just an ordinary law student with a faulty arrest record, a part-time job in Baltimore’s radioactive Zone, and a family secret so bizarre even she doesn’t believe it. That is, until in a fit of fury she damns her boyfriend to hell—and it’s exactly where he ends up.
Much to her surprise, Tina is apparently one of Saturn’s daughters, with the power to wield vigilante justice. But poor Max didn’t deserve to go up in flames, even if he did almost run her over with her own car. Tina’s convinced someone cut the brakes—and now a relentless nemesis is stalking her through the Zone’s back alleys, where buildings glow, statues move, and chemical waste exposure comes with interesting consequences. Tina’s usually a loner, but now she needs a posse like no other: a shape-shifting kitten, an invisible thief, a biker gang, a snake-charming private detective, a well-meaning cop, and her sleazy, sexy boss. But in between freeing Max from hell, saving her own neck, and solving a mystery that threatens the Zone and her newfound friends, how is she ever going to study for finals?

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Chapters | Kindle | Koboicon


Cover Copy: Winx is a daevor: a demon who can coerce people into killing themselves. After using her powers to avenge her sister’s death, she’s sentenced to have her wings severed and serve as a soldier. But Winx refuses to play by the rules. She goes into hiding at a BDSM club in Los Angeles where nobody would think to look for a deadly daevor.

Keaton’s friends and family are under attack by savages–people who arise from death as soulless monsters. Winx is the only one with the power to defeat them, and Keaton is determined to harness her dark powers… no matter what it takes.

Cursed by Darkness is the first in an urban fantasy trilogy by Anna Sanders, available Fall 2012!

Amazon CA | Amazon US


Cover Copy: She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Kindle | Kobo

Susan Sizemore – PERSONAL DEMON

Cover Copy:

Vampire Enforcer Christopher Bell is in Chicago to investigate rumors of a revolution, but when he comes across vampire hunter Ivy Bailey being followed through dark streets, what he finds is a ghost from his past. Over a century ago, Christopher fought the vicious London serial killer Jack the Ripper—and won. But now, the Ripper’s tainted soul is back—on the hunt once more.

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Kindle


Michael Spradlin – BLOOD RIDERS

Cover Copy:

Civil War veteran Jonas R. Hollister is recruited by the U.S. government to hunt down and destroy an ancient tribe of vampires that is terrorizing the frontier territories of the Wild West in this action-packed new novel from New York Times bestselling author Michael P. Spradlin

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Koboicon

The Urban Fantasy Land Review

Anton Strout –  ALCHEMYSTIC

Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name…

Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason—an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis.

Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love…

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters | Kobo

Ace/Roc Authors at Comic Con

Are you going to San Diego Comic Con? I wish I was. Look at all the urban fantasy authors that will be there:

Amber Benson, Taylor Anderson, Myke Cole, Jack Campbell, Rachel Caine, Pat Rothfuss, Kat Richardson, Marjorie Liu, Jeanne Stein, Anton Strout, Tom Sniegoski, Michael Cassutt, Kelley Armstrong, Deborah Harkness, and more.

Check out more information from Penguin and find out about catching all the details of SDCC as they happen.


Indigo Books & Music: Save 50% to 75% on Books, Toys, Gifts & More!

5 Questions with Anton Strout about the Once & Future Podcasts

You know Anton Strout the author, but do you know Anton Strout the podcaster? I posed a few questions to find out more about the creator of the Simon Canderous series.

1. How did you come up with the idea of doing the Once and Future podcasts? Or, what made you want to do podcasts as opposed to written discussions?
We have blogs and the books themselves for written discussion out there. I prefer the immediacy of the voice… you get to hear the way someone answers, you get to have quick and fast discussion, and honestly my favorite part of a convention was always talking with my fellow authors about writing and their other passions. Then I heard The Nerdist Podcast by Chris Hardwick, where he got to geek out talking to his fellow comedians and I decided I like the format of taking an hour to be in conversation with, let’s face it, my betters! 😛

2. What is your hope for the Once and Future podcasts? Who is your target audience?
My target audience for the show is really anyone who loves or shows any interest in sci-fi/fantasy/the paranormal/the geeky, or anyone who simply wants to hear how other writers practice their craft. I’d love to expand the programming if I can find away to sustain it. Right now I’m going with a donation model which so far has helped with renewing ourselves for another year, and expanding the bandwidth to store our rather large mp3 files. I’d switch to advertising if I had the write geek passion products on board, but right now it’s hard enough finding the time for writing books while editing the audio for the episodes, but we’ll see. I love doing it, and from the reaction so far, people love listening.

3. Who is your favourite guest so far?
Hard to play favorites.. hehe, but I do have such a good brother/sister rapport with author/Buffy alum Amber Benson that it’s hard to beat the dorky fun we have.

4. What’s your favourite or most memorable answer (or revelation) by a guest?
I think I was surprised most by Yasmine Galenorn. I knew very little about her going in, but the show went a lot deeper about her life, her struggles and her writing that I got a bit choked up while recording. I found her refreshingly open, and I didn’t have that expectation going in.

5. Who’s on your wish list for future interviews?
I’d love to get Felicia Day on the show as a content creator, Kevin Smith, Christopher Moore, and I think I’d lose my mind if I got Neil Gaiman or Stephen King. I have them both in my Six Degrees of Separation down to like two degrees away, but we’ll see what the future holds. Oh, and I’d also like to have me on the show, which I AM working on, believe it or not.

Thank you so much for this interview. I think I need to go check out a few more podcasts. I wonder what I’ll learn next. 

Things I Learned from Once & Future Podcasts — Ann Aguirre

Urban fantasy author Anton Strout hosts the Once & Future podcasts where he interviews other authors. The first one I listened to is the Ann Aguirre edition. I learned a few things. Things that surprised me. Things that I can never unlearn.

1. Like Anton, Ann Aguirre is a gamer. She plays online at the Star Wars Old Republic.

2. She once spent three weeks straight in her pajamas when SWOR first came out.

3. Ann Aguirre recommends Amanda Stevens’s The Graveyard Queen series.

4. She also talks about her writing process, from start to finish, including her favourite and least favourite part of writing.

5. They’re both Star Wars fans.

6. Anton was once a Twi’lek dancer.

(Can’t unlearn that now, can you? *grin*)

Be sure to listen to the podcast to hear the whole interview and learn lots more about these authors!

Friday Videos: GEEKOMANCY Flail; Anton Strout; Jeaniene Frost; Seanan McGuire; and THE NAMELESS PRINCE

Michael R. Underwood shows his excitement for his book deal that includes GEEKOMANCY, an urban fantasy that includes comics, werewolves, trolls, and witches, set for July 10, 2012 release:

(Find out more about GEEKOMANCY here.)

(P.S. We love Kermit the Frog, too.)

Book Country very quickly interviews Anton Strout:

And the Science Fiction Book Club does a more lengthy interview with Seanan McGuire and Jeaniene Frost:

Book trailer and author interview for fantasy YA, THE NAMELESS PRINCE:

[review] DEADER STILL by Anton Strout


Simon Canderous Series, Book 2
Anton Strout
Penguin/Ace, 2009

Plot Summary: It’s been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs’ last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry—the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it—agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end—until his life does. [Amazon].

Creature Feature: Humans with powers, zombies, vampires.

Originality: Although the police/detective style of Urban Fantasy may not be original, Strout’s take on it certainly is.  It’s humorous without being schlocky, irreverent without being insulting and poignant at times as well.  I also admit that I love the goofy names for the courses on the D.E.A. pamphlets too.

Characterization: Simon is definitely tested as his relationships with his past, girlfriend, partner and standing within the Department of Extraordinary affairs are all strained in one way or another.  But even with wounded pride, ego or psyche, he forges ahead to do what he thinks is right to protect the city of New York and those he care about most.

Believability: Mr. Strout uses a geek-centric vernacular, setting (Comic Con) and the city of New York to set the stage for the mystery of what or who killed all of those lawyers on their ill-fated cruise.  These elements are used well in delivering humor, creepiness factor and most of all, believability to the story.

Storytelling: Mr. Strout uses a lot of atmospheric detail by way of dialogue and using key locations in New York as the backdrop for the story.  He pokes at life, bureaucracy and relationships with a witty stick.   His prose is smart, economical and funny.  I found it unique and refreshing.

Badass Factor: Many of Simon Canderous’ friends and foes alike are pretty badass, including his girlfriend Jane.  Simon, himself, isn’t really badass.  He is just a guy with psychometric power and a bat who wants to set things right and that makes you want to root for him.

Too Stupid To Live Moments: It is that aforementioned need to set things right that sometimes has him barreling into situations with little or no backup but he somehow manages to survive but not always unscathed.

Notable Quotes: I like this how this exchange highlights Mina’s flavor of crazy.

“Pay well, does it?” she said.  “Playing Sanford and Son?”

“I make my rent,” I said with a dismissive shrug.

This allows you to pay rent?” she said, not believing me.  She shook the shark as she spoke and the tiny garbage fell out of its mouth.    Its jaws snapped shut.

“Please put that down,” I requested, not wanting to sound too desperate.

“Sure, Candy,” she said all rainbows and sunshine now.  I wondered if I had been this bipolar back then as well.  “No problem.”

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy.  Deader Still is a fun, interesting and witty read.  It is something a little different with a male protagonist, tongue in cheek attitude and interesting mystery.  I would definitely recommend reading Dead to Me first.

Anton’s Website

League of Reluctant Adults

Lisa Trevethan